In ~November 2014, my sister (Tee) was diagnosed with alopecia, which unfortunately, is a common type of hair loss among black women. With Tee’s permission, I share with you details about her alopecia journey.
Hair Loss Among Black Women
Alopecia is the medical term for excessive or abnormal hair loss on the scalp or body. There are several types of alopecia that you can read about on the American Hair Loss website. Traction alopecia is the most common type of hair loss among black women. Wearing tight hairstyles every now and then generally won’t cause alopecia but wearing tight braids, cornrows and various other styles too often will.
The Start of Tee’s Journey
Tee’s hair was relatively healthy before it started to thin in the crown. Initially, she thought it was caused by stress, medicine and/or genetics. Therefore, she continued to frequent the salon and within months, her crown resembled male pattern baldness. While the initial thinning might have been a result of any of the things mentioned, the major part of her hair loss (post hair thinning) was from hairstyles and relaxers.
Diagnosed with Alopecia Now What
The dermatologist did a biopsy of Tee’s scalp before offering a firm diagnosis. It took a few days to get the biopsy results before the dermatologist concluded alopecia. Tee was devastated and rightfully so. The dermatologist advised her to stop putting relaxers in her hair. Tee was prescribed a steroid cream for daily use and a series of in-office steroid injections. The dermatologist made no promises on results but Tee agreed to follow through with the regimen.
No More Relaxer?
Tee has never been fond of wigs and never thought about going natural so you can imagine she was less than excited about her new normal.
I too started wearing wigs to support Tee’s cause. While we don’t live near each other, I wanted to show her support on this journey. I helped her shop for wigs from afar by sending her pictures of wigs I thought she’d like. I even broke in a few wigs and gave them to her so she didn’t have to go through breaking in a new wig.
Don’t Let Hair Loss Define You
After about 6-8 months of wearing wigs, Tee grew comfortable with the process. She was getting compliments left and right and that helped. I’m glad she didn’t let having alopecia and suffering major hair loss define her. Instead, she did what she had to do and continued on. Go Sis!
Protective Styling for the Win
Even after developing alopecia, Tee didn’t become gung-ho with hair regimens and products (like most of us). Instead, she washed her hair as needed and allowed mom to grease her scalp and cornrow her hair for wigs.
She did not use handmade products. She did not co-wash, deep condition for hours, etc. She did nothing fancy yet look at her progress —
Hair regimens don't have to be complicated to work. They just need to be effective. Click To Tweet
- While alopecia and hair loss among black women is common, it doesn’t have to be our story forever.
- If you’re dealing with hair loss, it’s time to see a dermatologist because sometimes you cannot resolve it yourself.
- Your hair regimen does not have to be extensive for it to work.
- Wigs are not for everyone but as proven by my sister’s progress, protective styling gives the hair rest to allow it to grow.
Show My Sister Some Love
I’m so proud of my sister, you don’t even understand. Bouncing back from such a huge setback is a big deal. It took a lot of convincing for her to give me permission to share her story. I purposely used an overlay on her photos to help her feel a tad more comfy. Please let her know how proud you are by leaving a comment below!
Oh and, for anyone that refuses to be encouraging, just so that we are clear from the jump, you will blocked and deleted forever. 🙂